|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Purse by Honore de Balzac:
morrow, the future--everything down to its miseries, the good and
the evil alike.
At this magic hour a young painter, a man of talent, who saw in
art nothing but Art itself, was perched on a step-ladder which
helped him to work at a large high painting, now nearly finished.
Criticising himself, honestly admiring himself, floating on the
current of his thoughts, he then lost himself in one of those
meditative moods which ravish and elevate the soul, soothe it,
and comfort it. His reverie had no doubt lasted a long time.
Night fell. Whether he meant to come down from his perch, or
whether he made some ill-judged movement, believing himself to be
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Laches by Plato:
Lysimachus, but is afterwards recognised as the son of his old friend
Sophroniscus, with whom he never had a difference to the hour of his death.
Socrates is also known to Nicias, to whom he had introduced the excellent
Damon, musician and sophist, as a tutor for his son, and to Laches, who had
witnessed his heroic behaviour at the battle of Delium (compare Symp.).
Socrates, as he is younger than either Nicias or Laches, prefers to wait
until they have delivered their opinions, which they give in a
characteristic manner. Nicias, the tactician, is very much in favour of
the new art, which he describes as the gymnastics of war--useful when the
ranks are formed, and still more useful when they are broken; creating a
general interest in military studies, and greatly adding to the appearance
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Facino Cane by Honore de Balzac:
you--the Rue de Lesdiguieres. It is a turning out of the Rue Saint-
Antoine, beginning just opposite a fountain near the Place de la
Bastille, and ending in the Rue de la Cerisaie. Love of knowledge
stranded me in a garret; my nights I spent in work, my days in reading
at the Bibliotheque d'Orleans, close by. I lived frugally; I had
accepted the conditions of the monastic life, necessary conditions for
every worker, scarcely permitting myself a walk along the Boulevard
Bourdon when the weather was fine. One passion only had power to draw
me from my studies; and yet, what was that passion but a study of
another kind? I used to watch the manners and customs of the Faubourg,
its inhabitants, and their characteristics. As I dressed no better
|The fourth excerpt represents the element of Earth. It speaks of physical influences and the impact of the unseen on the visible world, and is drawn from Pierrette by Honore de Balzac:
latter invested five thousand francs in the enterprise.
On this, the colonel and lawyer took the field. They got a hundred
shares, of five hundred francs each, taken among the farmers and
others called independents, and also among those who had bought lands
of the national domains,--whose fears they worked upon. They even
extended their operations throughout the department and along its
borders. Each shareholder of course subscribed to the paper. The
judicial advertisements were divided between the "Bee-hive" and the
"Courrier." The first issue of the latter contained a pompous eulogy
on Rogron. He was presented to the community as the Laffitte of
Provins. The public mind having thus received an impetus in this new